Thursday, 6 January 2011
January 6th, twelfth night, and as trained by our mother to follow all good traditions, the Christmas tree is down and out, the decorations are away, the cards are in a pile to be checked through and the Christmas period is over, Mother would be proud!

Its been a difficult week, everyone was back bar Robin who poor chap is suffering intensely from gout. The problem with gout, is that as soon as you mention it people tend to laugh. I guess because we think of it with Henry VIII and over eating and drinking. But Robin is a vegetarian (I knew it was a bad idea!! - only teasing Robin) so he is hardly over eating with high protein meat - we all think it is the cheese Robin, we will just have to see if Wallace and perhaps Gromit! comes down with it as he gets older. We all sympathise with Robin and are looking forward to having him back.
We have been concentrating on baths, and cleaning and a general sort out after the Christmas break, before getting on with the rest of the food drawers, the heated perches, and then the children's play area and the woodland walk, to name but a few of the projects for the next couple of months.

However back to the week, everyone was back on Tuesday, but very sadly we have had three deaths, all were old to pretty old birds, but all were hard and one was devastating. The female Peregrine, who never had a name but was wife to Crow and mother of Fortina died first, she had not been well, but we thought was improving.
Next was Spike, our male Gymnogene, who when looking up his records was 19 years old, so I suppose he had a good innings, but still we will miss him, I will put a picture of him as a baby and you will see why he was called Spike.
Lastly today, this afternoon, I had Copper put down…………………

For those of you who don't know, Copper apart from being wonderful, was a Burrowing Owl. He was hatching in 2001, so he too, for a Burrowing Owl. reached a very good age. He was hand reared, mainly by me, and we always had a very special relationship. As a baby he lived in the house until he could fly. Living with a Burrowing Owl is never boring, you never knew where he was, he could be anywhere, he spend two days hiding behind the cooker in the kitchen and refusing to come out when I called him. I would yell his name in the evenings and a brrruuph would sound - sometimes from upstairs, and his little head would appear through the banisters and then vanish as he was busy with something important! I would be in the sitting room late in the evening (I stayed up later than I do these days in 2001!) and wake up on the sofa to find all
dogs fast asleep on the sofa's and a small burrowing owl lying flat out on the carpet in front of the fire, also asleep.

He came to the US with me, and back again. He did what passed for Owl Evenings in South Carolina, those lucky few who were privileged to be invited on one would have seen him work, I don't think they know most of them, how lucky they were, although some will. He came home again, and caused me a near heart attack while in the warehouse that we had for quarantine. I had opened the huge roller doors which - at least 24 feet wide and probably 20 feet high that rolled up electrically. I used to open them to allow in fresh air once the quarantine period was over. I was chopping up rats, I used to name them all each
day after the Board of Directors and the remaining staff at the Centre in SC! The phone went and I was talking to someone, I don't remember who, and slowly began to realise that not only was Copper talking to me - he was very vocal, but he was much closer than he should have been and on looking up, there he was sitting on the wall of the loos, looking out of the huge doors with nothing between him and Hereford! I dropped the phone, quietly moved to the button that closed the doors, praying that the noise of them closing would not scare him and once they were closed, persuaded him to come down, with a huge sigh of relief. He came back to Newent with us, I think he was one of the first birds to finally come home again.
He entranced, amused and captivated probably, no definitely, thousands of people over his life, and he had a place in the heart of all the staff and volunteers who knew him, that will and is now leaving an un-fillable hole. He sleeps now for the last time in a towel in the kitchen, he will join the special others in the field in the next couple of days.

2 comments:

Gaina said...

Dear Jemima,

I am so sorry to hear of your losses this week. I hope that is the last of it and that every living thing around you stays happy and healthy for a very long time now. ;)

snappy said...

Dear Mima,
I haven't been reading regularly, so have just now read about Copper. I am so sorry. He was an absolutely wonderful, endearing, engaging soul. I loved listening to him go on and on! I'm sorry I won't be able to see him again.
Love,
Melissa

Hello

I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHZGQ8i8AwI

HC

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